As we predicted in February, Facebook has opened up the Mini-Feed so users can import updates from other web services, starting with Flickr, Picassa, Yelp and Delicious.
According to a company blog post, users just need to click an import link at the top of their mini-feed to import data from other services. Imported updates will show up not only in the mini-feed on your profile but the News Feeds of your friends as well. Digg and other services are expected to be added soon as well.
While this new feature is a direct threat to FriendFeed and others that aggregate social networking activity from across the web, Facebook isn’t making it easy to access the aggregated information outside of its site. There are still no RSS feeds for the Mini-Feed and News Feed, despite feeds for other data like updates.
It would sound reasonable for Facebook to claim it can’t open this information up because of privacy concerns (who knows where your life will be broadcasted if available via RSS). But FriendFeed has already gotten around this by adding a special token to its RSS feeds.
This isn’t technically the first time the Facebook activity feeds have been opened up to 3rd party services. The infamous Beacon project also allows web services to import updates, but that takes the initiative of these other companies themselves. With this new feature, services like Flickr don’t have to opt into sharing data on Facebook – consumers are left with making that choice themselves.
News Feed recently made headlines for a privacy issue that distributed user stories that they had not approved. As far as we know, the issue has not been resolved.